The Brooklyn Nets came into Friday’s matchup against Toronto winners of six of their last eight and three straight.

After a 1-5 start, Brooklyn had posted the league’s third-best record (10-5) over their last 15 games heading into the contest. The Nets continued their hot streak Friday, running wild on the Raptors out of the gate on their way to a 114-105 victory.

Three key reactions to Nets’ win over Raptors

3. Historically dominant first half

The Nets opened the game 25 of 33 from the field and led by as many as 36 points in the opening half. Brooklyn’s 41-17 first-quarter advantage was their largest in an opening frame since 2013.

The Nets’ ball movement left the Raptors with no answers as Brooklyn posted 19 assists in the opening half. The efficient halfcourt offense allowed Brooklyn to convert on  6 of 7 threes in the first quarter.

Brooklyn’s offensive explosion came with Kevin Durant scoring just six points in the opening half. A Nets team that has been over-reliant on the superstar received contributions across the board. Kyrie Irving poured in 17 first-half points while Joe Harris added 14. Nic Claxton chipped in nine and T.J. Warren scored eight in his first game since December 2020.

As good as the Nets’ offense was in the opening frame, their defense came to play in just as emphatic a fashion. The Nets held the Raptors to 5 of 21 shooting in the first quarter as they continually overwhelmed the Raptors at the rim and on the perimeter.

The Nets forced Toronto into 8 first-half turnovers resulting in 14 fastbreak points.

2. Joe Harris continues resurgence after shooting slump

Joe Harris’ extended three-point struggles were at the forefront of Brooklyn’s issues in recent weeks. A 43.9 percent career three-point shooter heading into the season, Harris was just 5 of 30 (16.7 percent) in five games prior to breaking out in the Nets’ win over Washington Wednesday.

The longest-tenured Net shot 4 of 6 from three on his way to 14 points in the win. He followed that up with a season-high 17 points on 5 of 7 from deep Friday. With Ben Simmons out with a calf strain, Harris returned to the starting lineup in Brooklyn’s last two games. Head coach Jacque Vaugn touched on the sharpshooter’s frequently-changing role when speaking about Harris’ shooting resurgance.

“It’s not going to be linear for these guys,” Vaughn said. “Joe went from starting to the bench to one game playing 12 minutes to back to starting. So trying to really condition their minds to being able to be in any situation. I think he’s getting used to it a little more and he’s been playing extremely hard.”

Harris’ defense has also made a noticeable jump during Brooklyn’s three-game win streak after struggling in losses at Philadelphia and Indiana. Brooklyn will need significant contributions from the 6’6″ guard/forward in that area given their deficiencies in the backcourt.

1. Kyrie Irving dominates in best showing since returning from suspension

Following Brooklyn’s win over Washington Wednesday, Kyrie Irving spoke about the process of returning from his eight-game suspension. The seven-time All-Star acknowledged the extended absence threw him out of rhythm and voiced his desire to shoot the basketball more efficiently.

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It wasn’t as if Irving had been playing poorly. The guard had scored 20-plus points in six straight games coming into Friday’s matchup. However, Friday’s performance had a different feel than anything Irving had shown since his return. The guard was the most assertive player on the floor from the jump, scoring 17 first-half points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field and 2 of 3 from deep. Irving would finish with a game-high 27 points.

Irving continually weaved his way through Toronto’s defense with ease using his masterful handle. The fourth-year Net’s agressiveness attacking the rim jumped off the screen Friday. Irving made a heads-up play driving straight into Pascal Siakam midway through the second-quarter to force Toronto’s top scorer into his fourth foul.

Plays like this were a common occurrence Friday as Irving led the Nets’ red-hot offense. The guard is averaging 24.7 points 47.6 percent shooting in 15 games this season. Friday’s performance extends the New Jersey native’s streak of 20-plus point games to seven.


The Nets’ fourth-straight win brings them to 13-11 in the season. Brooklyn will look to continue the streak in their toughest matchup to date against the league-leading Boston Celtics Sunday.